It seems contradictory to call someone a Servant King but that is what Jesus represented when he came to the earth. His disciples didn’t get the servant part, they were so focused on the kingly role. For many years, the Jews had suffered on the rule of the Romans and they were desperate for change. When they saw the miracles He did, they were excited! This has to be the one God sent to liberate the Jews from the Romans!
How wrong they were! Jesus was already King of kings and Lord of lords. He left His glory in heaven to save the ones He loved. He didn’t come to Lord it over his subjects, He came identify with human flesh, to teach us how to live and love one another while at the same time offering His life as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.
When kings rode triumphantly into a the city, they rode on horses and chariots symbolising war. Not so with Jesus, when He rode triumphantly into Jerusalem, He rode on a colt to symbolise his arrival as the Prince of Peace. (Luke 19:28-39) Ideally, when kings rode triumphantly into a city, the people either stood by in humility watching as the king and his entourage rode by or they go into hiding but when Jesus rode into Jerusalem, the people recognised Him as the King of peace and began to shout, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:38)
Just before the passover, when the time of Jesus’ death was close, He set an example of servanthood for his disciples. How weird it must have been for the disciples as one by one , Jesus washed their feet and towelled them dry. This wasn’t the image they had of him.
He was meant to be served and not to serve! This was why Peter asked him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet? (John 13:6) Jesus responded to him, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” At this response, Peter insisted that Jesus was not going to wash his feet. He would have stuck to his guns if Jesus hadn’t told him, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” (John 13:8) At this point, Peter offered not only his feet but his whole body.
As we enter into what is known as the Holy Week, we remember the King who became a servant so that you and I can be redeemed from the punishment of sin.
“who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:6-11)